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Jakarta Post

Chinese ambassador objects to ‘conspiracy theory’ following illegal chili planting

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, December 17, 2016   /  10:36 am
Chinese ambassador objects to ‘conspiracy theory’ following illegal chili planting Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Xie Feng (left) and Indonesian Red Cross deputy chairman Ginandjar Kartasasmita shake hands on Tuesday during a ceremony to hand over a $100,000 donation from the Chinese Red Cross Society to support disaster relief and reconstruction efforts in Aceh following a recent 6.5-magnitude earthquake that claimed more than 100 lives. (JP/Bimo Raharjo)

Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Xie Feng said in a statement on Friday that the Chinese government “strongly opposes any attempt to mix up individual behavior with actions of the state or any unfounded accusation that such an isolated case is ‘a conspiracy’ or ‘a biological weapon’ to destroy Indonesia’s economy” following a case in which Chinese citizens were found illegally planting chilies in Bogor.

Local media reported recently that four Chinese citizens had been detained by the immigration office for permit violations. Later it was discovered that the four had planted chilies with seeds they had brought themselves to a plot of land in Sukadamai village, Sukamakmur district, Bogor regency. Tribunnews.com reported that Indonesia’s Agriculture Quarantine Body confiscated 5,000 chili plants and found they were tainted with a plant pathogen known as Dickeya dadantii.

In response to the news, politician Yusril Ihza Mahendra said last week on his Twitter account that Indonesian intelligence should investigate the matter, accusing the four Chinese citizens of “infiltrating” Indonesia to weaken the economy.

(Read also: Greater Jakarta: Police arrest 31 Chinese migrants in Bogor)

On Dec. 15, Ambassador Xie met with Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto and afterwards he said the Chinese government had encouraged all Chinese citizens to abide by local laws and regulations abroad.

“If an individual Chinese citizen is suspected of involvement in activities against Indonesian laws and regulations, the Chinese side respects the Indonesian government in its impartial handling in accordance with facts and laws while the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen shall also be effectively guaranteed.”

Ambassador Xie said that as people-to-people exchanges between China and Indonesia continued to grow, “more and more Chinese people are visiting Indonesia to meet friends, experience local culture and promote mutually beneficial cooperation”.

“Their visits have strengthened the cooperation and friendship between the two countries and contributed to the economic growth of Indonesia. Ambassador Xie hopes that the Indonesian side could properly handle this case and work with the Chinese side to safeguard the sound momentum of growth for bilateral relations,” the statement said.

Ambassador Xie has conveyed to Wiranto the Chinese government’s concerns about “over interpretation” and “hyping up” in the case. (evi)

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